India, Sierra Leone discusses international cooperation, take stock of bilateral trade and investment

ANI
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Freetown (Sierra Leone) [Africa], March 26 (ANI): India and Sierra Leone held Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) on Thursday in Freetown and undertook a comprehensive review of the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and international cooperation.

Rahul Chhabra, Secretary(ER) in the Ministry of External Affairs and Florence Nyawa Bangalie, Director General & Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, co-chaired the FOC.

According to an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs released on Friday, both sides took stock of bilateral trade and investment, development partnership, capacity building, defence cooperation and other security-related issues.

"Both sides agreed to take steps to enhance the depth and momentum of engagement, which would be to mutual benefit. Both sides noted with appreciation their cooperation on COVID-19 related issues, including supply by India of 1000 MTs of rice as well as a large consignment of medicines for the people of Sierra Leone to fight the COVID-19 pandemic," it said.

"Both sides noted with appreciation the visit of Hon'ble Vice President of India to Sierra Leone in October 2019 and as announced during his visit, India opened its resident Mission in Freetown recently," read the statement.

Chhabra called on the President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio who fondly recalled the visit of our Vice President to Sierra Leone in October 2019, which was the first-ever high-level visit from India.

The Secretary(ER) also called on Sierra Leone's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nabeela Tunis.

"Both leaders expressed gratitude for gifting 1000 MTs of rice and essential medicines last year. They also appreciated for opening up of our resident Mission in August 2020 in Freetown," the MEA said.

The talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and both sides agreed to hold the next consultations in New Delhi at a mutually convenient date.

Sierra Leone is a Commonwealth member country. It was represented at the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 by its 48-member sports delegation, led by the Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports.

The traditionally cordial bilateral relations of India and Sierra Leone were re-energized by the visit of the then Minister of State for External Affairs, Anand Sharma, to Sierra Leone in January 2009, representing the first high-level visit from India after a gap of ten years.

The High Commission of India to Ghana is concurrently accredited to Sierra Leone with residence in Accra. The Honorary Consulate of India is functioning in Freetown since 1993. (ANI)